10 Reasons Nurses "Strengthen Our Core" - and why I owe my life to the WOCN Society

"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."
― Maya Angelou

I was thrilled to present at the Eastern Regional WOCN Conference, where the theme was "Strengthening Our Core." Its a pretty ironic title for someone who literally doesn't have a stomach.

And I couldn't be more grateful, thanks to a lovely group of nurses: WOCN Nurses.

The WOCN Society is a professional nursing society which supports its members by promoting educational, clinical and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to individuals with wounds, ostomies and incontinence.

What does a wound care nurse do?

"Wound care nurses assess, treat, and create care plans for patients with complex wounds, ostomies, and/or continence conditions. Every nurse in their career will tend to a wound at some point; certified wound care nurses, however, demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise in the field, and often act as educators and consultants to staff nurses and other healthcare professionals." - Ameritech.edu

Let's just say after 27 surgeries, fistulas, drains, ostomies, wounds, meshes - you name it...I've come to know many wound care nurses. Not only do these heaven-sent angels help you with a wound that has no exact game plan,(since every body is different) they also help you make the difficult transition home, and help you make a plan where there is none.   

These are just a few of the medical supplies I go through at home.

There's no way to truly thank the amazing nurses that have helped me through a decade of surgeries.

Some surgeries were vitally important.

Some were disastrous.

Some were the reason why I'm still here.

Some left me worse off than I started.

And through all 27 of them, nurses were there to provide hope help, healing, and lots of gauze!!!

You can check out what I'll be presenting here.

I'll not only be talking about a creative approach to patient-nurse collaboration, but the innovative strategies that finally enabled me to live a functional life.  An open wound threatened to stall my life forever until I came up with some...resourceful strategies.  

What is a "creative approach to wound care?"

Yes, it takes THAT much work to change my permanent wounds. And just to give you a peak at what goes into this daily medical routine.  It takes work, but I love life to much to not live it to the fullest.

In 2014, I was honored as the Eastern Regional Recipient of the Great Comebacks Award.  This was a huge deal - it was the first time I had ever been honored for being an ostomate who had achieved inspiring things in spite of my medical circumstances.  It was the first time I was being honored...as someone who happened to have an ostomy.

Great Comebacks changed my life forever. 


I had never known how to talk about my ostomy. I didn't know what an ostomy was until I had one. Part of me felt like it was "not something you talk about." Even though I was never told this, I felt there was some kind of stigma, like I should be ashamed. Part of me felt like an outcast, like no one had what I had.

But thanks to WOCN nurses, I learned t feel comfortable with my wounds, ostomies, and various medical needs.  

10 Reasons I'm Thankful for WOCN Nurses
  1. Read how one nurse changed my life forever (a must read!)
  2. Read how after the worst wound in my life, I turned adversity to gratitude
  3. Read 10 Things I Didn't Know About My Ostomy
  4. Read the struggle to love my body after 27 surgeries
  5. Read how 27 surgeries left me with severe PTSD
  6. Read what it was like waking up with a tracheotomy
  7. Read the best way to celebrate World Ostomy Day
  8. Read why psychological first aid is so important
  9. Read 27 lessons I learned from 27 surgeries
  10. Read why The Patient's Playbook is a book that every nurse, patient, doctor and human must read! (And a giveaway - definitely check this out!)
I would have never found acceptance, confidence, self-love and solutions without these amazing nurses.  That's just the beginning.  Thank you WOCN nurses. You strengthen our core more than you know!

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, health advocate, /amyoes.com/tedx"}}">speaker for TEDx and RAINN, actress, and playwright.  Amy will be performing Gutless & Grateful next at the /amyoes.com/event/gutless-grateful-comes-to-metropolitan-room-february-2017-2/"}}">Metropolitan Room on February 5th and 25th, and at /amyoes.com/event/gutless-54below/"}}">54 Below on June 9th.  See more of Amy' /amyoes.com/galleries"}}">original artwork, learn about her health and leadership speaking, or catch her touring Gutless & Grateful, her one woman musical, to theatres, colleges, conferences and organizations nationwide.   Learn about her mental health advocacy programs for students, and find out how to take part in the#LoveMyDetour movement, and learn about her upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour at /www.amyoes.com/"}}">www.amyoes.com.